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Bouncing Back from Burnout

I usually have some soft lead-in to my pieces, but this time I'm not going to bring it in nice and easy. We aren't good at dealing with trauma among individuals in this country. People are told to "stop playing the victim" or people say "it will be okay" like those things are going to somehow make someone be better tomorrow. Like somehow telling a person to "stop playing the victim" makes them think, "Oh, yeah, you're right. I'm totally responsible for this choice, and that's why this is so hard on me." Let me lay it down. No one who was a care provider or a healthcare professional during the pandemic is playing the victim in any way. Yes, they agreed to take care of people. That was their choice. However, the pandemic, the incredible overwhelment of it all, the feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, seemingly unending pressure, harassment from communities, patients, and families -- none of that was what anyone signed up for. They didn't ask for any of those things to happen to them. They aren't playing the victim. They are burned out.

Now, those victims of burnout are facing another issue. They are incessantly told they are burned out. In case they didn't know already. I'm sure they are so grateful for the clearly insightful analysis of their situations. They probably had no idea whatsoever. Yes, they did. In fact, on social media providers of all types complained vehemently, at times with no one listening, to how burned out they were...and still are. They stated how tired they were of being told about how burned out they were, and they wanted solutions. We are asking why we have the "Great Resignation." We aren't caring for each other. We are pointing out the problems and not finding the solutions.

I'm not going to pretend to have all of the answers to burnout. I have some ideas about how to address the problem, but I don't know how to solve the problem altogether. Part of the issue is systemic. It's been going on for years, a pot on a hot stove waiting to boil over. One way to keep the pot from boiling over is to turn down the heat. Or you can stir the contents. Or you can remove the contents from the heat, which is what the Great Resignation is about. 

Picture courtesy of

My plan isn't to turn the heat off, to remove the staff, or really to even stir the pot. It's more to show them how important they are. How amazing they are. How we wouldn't have made it through the pandemic without them. How they developed a unique skill set that no one else has. How they helped save so many people. How they moved science forward. It's to show them they are still worth Bragging About. It's to remind them how awesome they are. They went through the psychological beatdown. Now it's time for the heartfelt lift-up. Let's lift up our care providers, every last one of them. That's how we get them to stay. That's how we help them recover.

That's what "Bragging About You" is all about. It's not just a guided journal. It is a program. It's a program that I developed to help myself and others. It's about making it past trauma, and building on it to make yourself stronger and better than before. To make a comeback. I'm sharing that program and method with other people. Maybe if I throw it at the wall it will stick, and not fall back into the pot. Either way, the program is part of the solution.